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On I-80, exit 29 in Nebraska is for the tiny little town of Dix, nestled between the Interstate and old US Highway 30. It's one of those sneeze-and-you-miss-it places, with a population of 264 (well, 261 after a neighbor died, a kid moved off to get married, and after I sold a house and left.) It's a great place to be, assuming you've been driving all night in your car and finally have to pull off the road to get some shut-eye still buckled in your seat.

There's a gas station run by a lovely widow. The pumps work most of the time with the cash acceptors built in but there are times the dial-up modem goes down and it can't take credit or debit. Make sure you don't overpay, as you don't get any change back if you put in two twenties and your car stops at $32.88. If you only have plastic, within sight across the street is a drive-thru ATM sitting all by itself, ready to hand you some twenties for the gas station with a $4 fee tacked on. Also, watch out for the locomotive drivers tooting their horns with four reeeeeally long blasts less than 45 feet away from your ears. Sticking your fingers in your ears only brings it down to a medium-level pain. They do this 24/7.

If you're hungry, you're in luck. That is, assuming you happened to visit during one of the two three-hour windows when the little cafe is open. The coffee is particularly atrocious, and if you're there for the breakfast session you will be grunted at by legions of farmers unless you go incognito and wear a Carhartt jacket in Nebraska Dirt Brown. Make sure you grunt at the more obvious tourists if any others pop in.

If you're looking for anything interesting to look at, five miles or so up Highway 30 is Point of Rocks, Nebraska. Or you can listen to the serenade of the trains every half hour. Dix does still have a post office, so feel free to drop off a postcard you purchased elsewhere. Be careful, the metal handrail in front has rusted out at the bottom and it won't hold your weight.

There is a small elementary school, and it's the first thing you see after the graveyards and the cornfields. The school district is shared with the next town, Potter. The school district has the unusual name of Potter-Dix. The jokes just write themselves. 

Half of the roads are gravel and half are paved. It seems the paved roads are where the more affluent families lived at one time or another. The house I owned was built in 1918, and it had a hidden room added over the stairs going to the basement for storing booze during prohibition. I purchased the house for cash, $8250, and I lived there and did some work on it when I worked at the Cabela's corporate headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska, a half-hour drive east on 30 or I-80. I tripled my money on that investment and had no rent or mortgage for seven years.

My youngest daughter was the last to live with me and said it was the most depressing place she had ever been. She liked her friends in the Potter-Dix High School though, so that made it bearable.